March 3, 2024

On this first Sunday of March, we celebrate the Third Sunday of Lent and shift gears in our Lenten journey. Throughout the past week, the daily Scripture readings have been our guide. Last Sunday, the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration gave us a glimpse of the glory to which each of us is called. On Monday, we were given the path to that glory – stop judging, stop condemning, forgive. Tuesday – do not perform works in order to be noticed. Wednesday – if we take this path seriously, expect opposition and persecution. Thursday – trust that God will help us in our efforts to change. Friday – if we ignore the invitation, the invitation will be given to others who will respond. And Saturday – while we can’t succeed on our own, God’s overwhelming gift of forgiveness can overcome our failures.

“Agape, the love of each one of us for the other, from the closest to the furthest, is in fact the only way that Jesus has given us to find the way of salvation and of the Beatitudes.”

Pope Francis

Once we realize that we cannot make the changes in our lives that we would like to make on our own, we are reminded that God is on our side and working with us. God has taken many steps to bring us back. The primary image in the Scripture readings during this week is the image of water – a symbol of new life. We remember how God gave us new life in our Baptism. This third week of Lent invites us to look back at what God initially did for us in the past and to look ahead to the Easter Vigil when we will renew our Baptism promises.

Today, we begin the Scrutinies, or Rites of Inner Healing, with the Elect, who have been called to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. These Rites will be celebrated at the 10:00 am Mass over the next three weeks. At these Scrutiny Masses, we will hear the “Cycle A” Scripture readings. They give us the traditional “coming to faith” stories that were used in the early church to prepare those to be baptized. For the First Scrutiny, we hear the account of the Woman at the Well from John’s Gospel. Her story is really the story of those who are preparing for their Baptism. We promise to support our Elect (Nathan Figueroa, Lorena Scaletta and Kevin Gonzalez) and Candidate for Full Communion (Madison Shoemaker) with our prayers throughout this special season of preparations.

Please join us for the second evening of our Lent 2024 Parish Mission on Monday evening at 7:00 pm. Father Benzes will share his reflection, “Rediscovering the Real Presence: Recognizing Jesus in our Daily Life.” Father Ramon will conclude our Lent 2024 Parish Mission on Monday, March 11th with a reflection in Spanish. We will have a combination of prayer, presentations, and witness-sharing by some parishioners, and we will conclude with some “face time” in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord.

Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2024 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, and especially to those who responded to Bishop Hick’s homily and pledged at our recent in-pew “Commitment Weekend.” This Appeal is the major source of funding for all of our Diocesan ministries and charities. We are doing everything possible to reach our 2024 CMAA goal of $154,900. That can be possible again this year with the participation of each family in our parish. If you haven’t had a chance to pledge yet, please do so as soon as possible. Envelopes are available at the Hospitality Desk and at the Parish Office. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.

Next Sunday, we will join with Catholic parishes throughout our diocese in responding to the annual Catholic Relief Services Collection. Funds raised through this annual collection go directly to Catholic Relief Services and are used to make an immediate response to natural disasters as they occur throughout the world. Envelopes for this collection were included in the packets mailed to our homes. Contributions may also be made through our parish website. Thank you for your generous response to this annual appeal.

As Lent progresses, let us continue to pray for and support each other in our Lenten practices. Many opportunities for the traditional Lenten practices of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving are available here at St. Isidore, as well as extra times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Adult Faith Formation offerings. Know that your priests pray for you each day. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy